Friday, March 25, 2005

Why this Friday is Good

All around the world today Christians celebrate Good Friday, a remembrance of Jesus of Nazareth's crucifixion at the hands of Roman and Jewish authorities. What is the meaning of His death for us today?

Three-and-one-half millennia past, the God of Israel, "I AM" (YHWH), appeared to a man named Moses, calling him to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt and to a land promised generations earlier to their ancestor Abraham.

The pharoah would not allow Israel to leave to worship as they wished, despite being at the receiving end of a number of destructive plagues. The last and most devastating judgment against Egypt would be the death of all firstborn males in the land.

In His providence, God directed the people of Israel to slaughter a male lamb and to place its blood around their doorposts. When the Angel of Death passed over, it would see the blood and harm no one inside. All those who did not have the lamb's blood over them lost their firstborn. There was a devastating (and unnecessary) loss of life.

Israel was commanded to remember God's Passover forever.

Fifteen hundred years later, God provided another Lamb Whose blood would save us from eternal death.

This Passover Lamb Who was slaughtered once-for-all is Jesus the Christ, the Messiah promised to Israel and foreshadowed by the lambs of the first Passover.

By His death we have life. It is His sacrifice for us we remember today.